The Beer Store container reuse and recycling climbs higher than ever
This fall The Beer Store (TBS) released its annual Packaging Stewardship Report, Responsible Stewardship 2008-2009, with statistics on reuse and recycling of alcohol beverage packaging in Ontario. Since 1927 the privately operated retail and distribution company has been operating a deposit-refund-based packaging management system. Today it recovers packaging on behalf of the 89 beer brand owners and 346 associated brands sold through the system. The costs of the deposit refund system are covered through a schedule of service fees payable by those brandowners.
The backbone of the TBS deposit-refund system is the refi llable beer bottle. Over 70 per cent of total beer sales (of about two billion units) are refillable glass bottles. (See chart.). With each bottle making an average of 12 to 15 trips over relatively short distances from retail store back to brewery, the refillable bottle provides both economic and environmental efficiencies.
Currently, 48 Canadian brewers (including 17 Ontario brewers) are signatories to the Industry Standard Bottle (ISB) Agreement which allows them to utilize the ISB as their primary beer container. In one year, more than 1.4 billion beer bottle sales were provided using just over 94 million new beer bottles, avoiding all primary resource extraction energy and pollution associated with manufacturing 1.4 billion new bottles from scratch. In one year alone, the refi llable beer bottle can claim to have avoided more than 2.3 million gigajoules of energy, equivalent to more than 383,000 barrels of oil, worth $27.5 million.